Our Kaupapa

We think an art gallery should be socially responsive, inclusive and encourage debate.

 

Our curatorial vision is constantly evolving. When thinking about exhibition ideas, we always consider whether someone who has never walked into an art gallery before would be interested. What would capture their attention and what is it about the exhibition that might be relevant to them?

Our approach to curating stems from an enduring belief that art and creative practice has the potential to resonate with anyone if curated and presented in an engaging way.

We are passionate about art and bring our enthusiasm, personality and ambition to every project we work on. At the Gus Fisher Gallery, we want to take people on a journey and change how galleries might be perceived. Galleries don’t have to be daunting, white cube, silent spaces. They have many roles that are intrinsic to society – they are safe spaces where people can go and experience new things, they are hubs of knowledge and creativity and they are meeting places that offer dialogue, conversation and creative exchange. People should enjoy being in an art gallery, and artists should want to show their work there. 

Artists help us to see the world in extraordinary ways. From emerging to internationally renowned artists, our vision is dedicated to supporting and showcasing artists’ work in the best way possible and to enable people to connect with and access their ideas.

We aim to curate colourful, visually stunning, fun and engaging exhibitions that celebrate artistic and social achievements in unique and surprising ways. Visitor-aware and always forward thinking, we plan to demonstrate cutting edge approaches through bold curatorial and engagement methods, from devising exhibition sound tracks to public space performances, to demonstrate the potential of art to resonate with anyone, anywhere.  

 

Lisa Beauchamp, Curator of Contemporary Art 

Julia Craig, Public Programmes and Engagement Officer 

Hannah Burgoyne, Gallery Assistant 

Our heritage informs everything we do 

 

Located at the top of Auckland’s first main street, our gallery spaces in Shortland Street have been the centre of innovation and kiwi ingenuity for decades. Opened in 1935 as the Southern Hemisphere’s largest purpose-built broadcasting studios, 74 Shortland Street was home to the 1YA radio station. Described as a “magnificent broadcasting palace”, the studios were at the cutting edge of technology and architecture. A striking neo-Romanesque brick façade covered the outside of the building, softened by elegant and intricate Art Deco features inside. The 1YA Broadcasting Studios were the first of their kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

When experimental television transmissions began in New Zealand in the 1950s, 74 Shortland Street was deemed the ideal location for this new form of broadcasting. And for the first time in New Zealand, on 1 June 1960, a team of thirteen staff worked together to broadcast the first night of official programming live to the Auckland population from a rudimentary set-up in the Shortland Street Studios. The programme of local and international content was deemed a huge success by the media in the following days, and Shortland Street Studios became the home of our new form of entertainment.

Successful productions such as C’mon and numerous telethons were hosted in Shortland Street’s Studio One. Even with the introduction of the purpose-built facilities at Avalon for TV One, 74 Shortland Street persisted as an important centre for television right up until the late 80’s.

TVNZ eventually left the building in 1990s, but 74 Shortland Street continued to be a centre for innovation and entertainment. A variety of New Zealand musicians favoured the building’s recording facilities to create new albums, including Dave Dobbyn, Che Fu and the Muttonbirds. By the time the building was acquired by The University of Auckland, 74 Shortland Street had played home to a wealth of well-known, and loved presenters, performers, actors and musicians who have shaped our history as a nation.

In 2001, The University of Auckland’s decision to convert the building into their new performing arts school and art gallery ensured that 74 Shortland Street continued to be a home for the country’s emerging talent. Now as Gus Fisher Gallery undergoes its own transition, we aim to honour the progressive, rich legacy of our building through our contemporary art exhibitions, public programmes and display of artists’ film.